Cementing the Championship Lead
San Ramon, CA – Rob Harper decided to drive his #28 BMW 330i BTCC Wide Body race car again for round four of the 2021 United States Touring Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The car ran as expected in the first session but began to lose boost by midday, resulting in the ECU triggering the dreaded ‘limp mode’, forcing him to abandon the predicted fastest lap of the day. The team quickly went into diagnostic mode and applied their knowledge for the next session being qualifying on Saturday evening and Rob went on to qualify the car in second place for the GT class.
Prepared by Bidwell Automotive of Rancho Cordova, the car was well set up for the track and the conditions, which were a lot warmer than what is normally to be expected from Laguna Seca.
Sunday was a bit unusual, since there was no warm-up, and the race was scheduled for mid-day. A new challenge for all drivers, having to jump in and race from the get-go without having had a lap prior on that day. Rob was ready and never wavered his second place, but also didn’t have the speed in this car to challenge the leader. A full post-race inspection of the car uncovered the issue that plagued the day, a failed wastegate in the turbo.
This might have been the last race in the GT class for this car since it will be de-tuned for reliability and then raced in the Super Touring (ST) class, maybe as early as later this year but surely next season.
Rob Harper reviews his Round FOUR performance:
“I just love this track! How much fun to race here with a high horsepower car, where we fell slightly short. The speed wasn’t there in this car to challenge for the win this round. We finished the race in second place and on the podium, really cementing our championship lead. Next round, I should have my red beast back (Corvette Z06) and thus be able to challenge for the race win again. I can’t wait to run at Laguna Seca again, especially since we are running as the support series during the Firestone Indy Car Grand Prix Sept. 17-19. Something I really am looking forward to!”
A great and well-deserved podium finish for Rob, taking another huge step towards the 2021 GT class crown.
About Red Panther Motorsport (RPM)
A leading California based professional racing team. RPM competes in the Hankook Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) race series. For more information, please see and visit www.RedPantherMotorsport.com and also like us on our social media channels.